December 09, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Looks like NBC is edging away from the young, cosmopolitan, workplace comedies that have characterized the network over the last several years. According to Variety, it’s developing a young, small-town workplace comedy, which NBC executive Karey Burke describes as a ”modern-day Andy of Mayberry” story, with elements of both family and office-based comedies.” It’ll star ”The Daily Show” snark Stephen Colbert, with Colbert and his ”Daily” colleague Jon Stewart writing the show.

The show will be inspired in part by Colbert’s upbringing in South Carolina. ”I’m just tired of Stephen telling me stories about how he grew up,” Stewart tells Variety. ”I figured if we write it all down in script form, he’ll stop talking about it.”

Comedy Central stalwart Colbert has some experience as a sitcom creator, having cocreated the channel’s ”Strangers With Candy.” Stewart, who will continue to host ”Daily Show,” has less sitcom-writing experience, but it sounds like he has already mastered the form. He tells Variety, ”We were just thinking about what would happen if a gay man and a straight woman lived together in a bar in Boston and ate spiders for $50,000 every episode. We’re going to try to do a show that has everything that’s worked on NBC before. Before it’s over, Stephen could end up helming a genial black family. He could be the next Cosby.”

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